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indoo.rs and San Francisco International Airport Demonstrate Indoor Navigation Solution for Visually-Impaired Passengers at SFO’s Terminal 2

August 7, 2014 Airport No Comments Email Email

indoo.rs, a technology leader in indoor localization and navigation, today announced the first public demonstration of its solution for helping the blind and visually impaired find their way around San Francisco International Airport (SFO) took place last Thursday at Terminal 2. indoo.rs’ patented technology uses a combination of Bluetooth low-energy beacons from StickNFind, Wi-Fi access points and a mobile app, to help guide the passengers. In addition, routing-by-voice is available through the use of the smart phone’s accessibility feature.

indoo.rs is one of six startup companies selected (200 applicants from 25 countries) to participate in San Francisco’s “Entrepreneurship-in-Residence” program — a 16-week collaboration between private sector and City departments to explore innovative solutions to civic challenges. Adapting and scaling best-of-breed indoor mapping, localization and routing technology to work in the 640,000-square-foot Terminal 2 of SFO was a welcomed challenge for indoo.rs, as was tailoring the app to meet the needs of the visually impaired.

“We went into this with a lot of ideas of how we would implement, only to learn that our assumptions were wrong,” said Hannes Stiebitzhofer, CEO of indoo.rs. “Working closely with the team from LightHouse, we were able to make significant changes to the specification early on, so the end result would truly provide the types of valuable information the blind and visually impaired needed.”

On Thursday, 31 July, Lisamaria Martinez, the Donor Relations Coordinator for LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (http://www.lighthouse-sf.org), did a walking demonstration at SFO’s Terminal 2 showing how she interacts with the indoo.rs solution to find her way around the airport.

“What is amazing to me is the whole new world that opens up — knowing where things like the hydration stations, ATMs and even where the outlets to plug in devices are located,” said Martinez. “Both indoo.rs and SFO care about things that matter, and what matters is the freedom to move about one’s environment independently with confidence and grace. With this solution indoo.rs and SFO will change the way blind and low vision people travel.”

“This groundbreaking new innovation offers visually-impaired passengers something remarkable… the ability to navigate through SFO independently without assistance,” said Airport Director John L. Martin. “I appreciate the collaboration with indoo.rs and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, made possible by Mayor Ed Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program.”

Availability: The prototype version will undergo additional testing and refinement before being released for use by the traveling public.

Fast Facts

  • The implementation took 300 “beacons” (small disks) the size of a poker chip.
  • The beacon supplier was StickNFind (https://www.sticknfind.com/), a worldwide leader in Bluetooth low energy (BLE) technology that designs, develops, and manufactures consumer and enterprise beacons and software solutions worldwide.
  • indoo.rs was selected as one of the six startup companies to participate in the new “Entrepreneurship-in-Residence” program. The voluntary, sixteen-week collaboration which aimed to bring together the private sector and City departments to explore innovative solutions to civic challenges that can lower costs, increase revenue, and enhance productivity.
  • In Europe, indoo.rs has more than 15 installations at events, in big enterprises, at an airport and in the retail sector.
  • This is the first time that indoo.rs technology has been utilized in the United States for a large-scale project. indoo.rs has some pilot installations and test and trials going on with announcements anticipated before the end of the year.

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